Assault on Leader Is Assault against Bulgaria's Turks - Vice-Chair
The assault against Movement of Rights and Freedoms chair Ahmed Dogan is an assault agains all the supporters of the party, stated vice-chair Lyutvi Mestan.
Mestan spoke at the Movement's national conference little after Dogan was rescued safely from a hand gun assault by a man who walked on stage as the leader was delivering his speech.
"This is not only an attempt on the life of MRF's leader - this is an attempt against all whose common will he has been representing for 23 years," stated Mestan.
Most of the Movement's voters, since its foundation as a party in 1990, have been from Bulgaria's sizeable Turkish minority.
"We do not know who is physically behind this assault, but there is no doubt that the true reason is the language of hatred and confrontation," added Mestan.
He called on all Bulgarian as well as international leaders not only to condemn the attack, but also to take measures to guarantee the rights of those of a minority ethnicity.
Ahmed Dogan has been the Movement for Rights and Freedom's leader since its foundation, and his re-election as party leader was expected at the congress Saturday, in spite of rumors to the contrary.
When he was assaulted, Dogan had just begun to deliver a keynote speech expected to delineate the Movement's strategy for upcoming parliamentary elections in the summer.
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